Retired business executive Kenneth Gus Dieker, 85, formerly of Tampa, died July 20 in Modesto, Calif.
Born Oct. 23, 1924, in Westphalia to Lawrence and Catherine Dieker, he graduated from Tampa Rural High School in 1942 and attended Wichita State University while working as an apprentice tool and die maker before he enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1943.
He flew 45 missions over Europe, including on D-Day and in the Battle of the Bulge, as a flight engineer on a B-26, receiving one silver and three bronze oak leaf clusters.
After the war, he attended the University of Kansas, graduating in 1950 with a degree in business administration.
He met his wife, Arlene, at KU and married her five days after she graduated with an education degree.
His career in business moved the couple to California, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Venezuela before he retired as international group president of Illinois Tool Works in 1988 and moved to Oakmont, Calif.
He was a member of many professional organizations, serving several terms as president of Bolted Tank Manufacturers Association. He also wrote three books and several business guides and was a partner in a consulting firm.
A member of the Rotary and Kiwanis clubs and the Knights of Columbus, he was president of the Oakmont Men’s Golf Club and treasurer of the men’s club and chairman of the finance committee at Star of the Valley Catholic Church.
In 2008, the couple moved to Modesto. In addition to his widow, survivors include three children, Sandra, Kenneth, and Kevin Dieker; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at Lakewood Memorial Park, 900 Santa Fe Ave., Hughson, Calif.
Memorial funds have been established with Catholic Charities, PO Box 17066, Baltimore MD 21297 and American Lung Association of California, 424 Pendleton Way, Oakland CA 94621.
Last modified July 29, 2010